Finished Object Part 1: Back Yoke & Applique Zipper

Denim Hummingbird Take 2

Before we dive in I have to say we’ll have no sewing with hammers this evening.  I managed to slam my thumb very hard with a hammer today while I was trying to juggle camera, hammer, hardware and skirt.  I cried a little bit, and I don’t cry for things like that!

Sewing with Hammers

My thumb is bruised and the only good photo I got was of my husband Stephen finishing up the snaps so I could wear my skirt to show you.   Don’t worry, I’m not one to let a hammer get the best of me, I’ll have another whack at the Sewing with Hammers post over the weekend…

Picture 23

Instead, tonight I bring you the Appliqued Exposed Zipper visual reference guide.  I’ve seen this treatment on all kinds of clothes and am always struck by the simple brazenness of it- like it’s saying “Hel-lo, I’m a zipper, so what!”   Cynical me wonders if exposed zippers are a trend because they’re cheaper to insert in terms of labor?

Hummingbird Denim with back yoke detail

Anyway, the bulky flat fell yoke seam and stiff fabric told me that my CB zipper should be firmer than my usual invisible zip so I tried my own idea of how this treatment should work.  I used a metal jeans zipper and a little bit of fusible webbing.  It’s easy, and very clean to insert.  I could hardly believe it went together so simply.

Part 1- Finished and Wearable, but not quite It

Hummingbird Denim TAke 2

After I smashed my thumb, I decided to temporarily forgo the rest of the rivets and snaps I wanted to apply.  I’ll play with it this weekend and report back on Monday.   The flat fell seam and the waistband visual reference guides are in the works, too!


I like the hefty weight of this fabric, it’s not at all hard to handle (heat, steam, clapper).  14oz twill works just as well for this cut as a 7oz, though the resulting garments are hardly identical.  Funny how that happens- the same exact cut will behave so very differently depending on the fabric.


My thumb may be killing me and I may not have the hammer shots I want, but I do love the way the back yoke seam flows into the pocket seaming!  This particular fabric doesn’t show it that well, but I cut the back yoke and skirt upper front on the crosswise grain.  In a stripe or a streaky denim wash, this would be very interesting indeed.  I wonder how it will look as it ages…?

Hummingbird Denim TAke 2

What do you think about rivets on this skirt, perhaps at the upper end of the pocket seam?  On one hand, this is more a “jeansy” skirt than a regular denim one.   I think a fly would look weird on the front, and once I decided against that it was also easy to nix the belt loops.   And back pockets?  Do I need them with the back yoke and appliqued zipper?  Or is that quite enough embellishment for one backside?

I’m working offline over the weekend, and will be back on Monday.   Let me know what you’d suggest about the rivets etc, I think I may even re-sew the waistband.  Some of the top-stitching is bugging me.

Next week I have some cutting layouts and a stripey Hummingbird Dress to share!

Muses- Last week, I put out a call for bloggers who would like to work with me testing Red Velvet and having a little internet fun.  I’ll be finalizing my list in the next 24 hours and will email you if I think the project is a good fit.  Many thanks to everyone who applied, I wish I could work with everyone on this!

(Let me know when your patterns start turning up, too!  I expect to start hearing from y’all about it over the weekend perhaps!  Things have been hectic, I don’t want to blog about it but your patterns are a-coming!  Woohoo!)


  1. “I cut the back yoke and skirt upper front on the crosswise grain. In a stripe or a streaky denim wash, this would be very interesting indeed.” This thought also occurred to me and I was thinking about trying it with my Kaufman fabric I posted on Flickr. I love the pic with the yoke and pockets seams matching up. You had mentioned it before, but I couldn’t visualize it. Now that I have seen it I am totally going to attempt the yoke.

    • Yes! Part of me also kinda wants to color block it, but there’s no way I could possibly sew all the things that come to mind… Which is why I get so excited to see what others make!!

      I’m glad you like the yoke! Me too. I’d suggest not doing the yoke/denim version as the first go, make an Hbird orange and check the fit etc. Then the denim one will go super smoothly… They’re so quick to sew up, and easy to wear…

  2. I hope your thumb gets better soon! Not a pleasant injury, but thankfully yours sounds managable.

    • Thanks, Dianne. I won’t die or anything, but it was definitely a signal to quit sewing… At least it was my left thumb, it’s even sorer this morning.. :(

    • Thanks! I’m looking forward to the dress, too, I think we’ll have some fun with it… :) And the sympathy is much appreciated! The hammer came down very sharply indeed.

    • Thanks! I was wearing the top (It’s my collarless Bonny) and the shrug (it’s totally a Future Cake) all day and didn’t want to take them off for the photos. :)

    • Of course. :) Thanks for the tip about arnica. I used a little ice, but probably should have iced it longer. Oh well, will heal. I’ve never hurt myself while Sewing with Hammers, I think it’s because I was trying to get pictures. :(

  3. Ack, winced up reading of your thumb injury. Hope it’s better by now. The skirt is cute and I like the yoke back–don’t think you need pockets at all.

    • Thanks! I just want to suggest that it might be a good idea to make an un-altered Hbird orange first to check the fit and the sewing before drafting in a yoke. I mean, your sewing is absolutely all about your goals and your achievements and I’m not the boss of your sewing, but I find it’s usually best to make something the simple way first before introducing fun variations.. :)

    • Have you played with this fabric yet? I’m really enjoying it, the fabric responds quite well to heat and steam and pressing, especially for such a tough/stiff fabric.

  4. Oh OUCH on the thumb!! I’d probably put rivets at the pocket corners, but not bother with anything else. It doesn’t need back pockets at all.

    • It hurt! But we’ll be ok… Me and my thumb. :)

      I think I like your thinking about the rivets… I like them, it’s easy to get carried away… :)

  5. Just scored some promising denim at Walmart today for $6 a yard (I seriously find hilariously good denim at Walmart) with the intent of making a denim Hummingbird from it. If MMM has taught me anything, when I have access to a denim skirt I wear it a LOT. Just one in my wardrobe is not enough. My Kelly jean skirt is gold tone based, with traditional yellow top stitching and brass buttons. For this one, I’m going to make it silver tone, with white top stitching and a silver zipper/rivets/etc.

    • Hooray for Walmar denim…!

      Yes, when I made that first Hbird denim I was *shocked* how often I reached for it…

      Ooooh silver tone! That’ll be pretty pretty.

  6. Ouch! So sorry you hurt your thumb! Hope it feels better soon!

    From your description, it sounds like an invisible zipper may not work with a denim skirt and yoke. Other than the exposed zipper, what kind of zipper application would you recommend? (Still trying to figure out if I’m “cool” enough for an exposed zip.)

    With the yoke and exposed zip, I don’t think you need back pockets. (Oh, I love the way the yoke flows into the pocket seam!)

    • Thanks, you’re so sweet Tanya!

      Well, I didn’t try the invisible zipper because I know from experience that invisible zippers aren’t fond of crossing seams at the best of times. They’ll usually handle it ok for light-medium weight fabrics with a normal seam, but this is a big thick flat fell seam. I’m not entirely sure about the appliqued zipper either, *but* I’m almost completely won over because of how easily it went in and how strong and secure it feels. It’s also possible to 1- create a fly at the back 2- make a regular exposed zipper where just the teeth are showing 3- move the zipper to the side seam so it’s less prominent 4- create a button fly at the back… There’s so many possible ways to get around the seam bulk issue, I just picked the simplest one… :) Heck, it could also work to cut the CF not on the fold but with a seam and slip an invisible zipper in there… It would mean a CF seam but that could be fine…

      • Okay, you got me at simplest solution to seam bulk issue! And I just happen to have a 7″ jeans zipper in my stash! :)

  7. That is soooo something that I would do!!! Every time I need the hammer while sewing (which is always more than you think) I get worried that I’ll injure myself.

    With every HB make I see, the more excited I get! I can’t wait for my pattern! My son and I are both watching the post for something Australian. His pen pal lives there ;o)

    • It’s a thought always at the back of my mind, but this was the first time I actually hit it…..

      Soon! So Soon! Your pattern will come from Indianapolis though, from Leila the US Distributor. :) That’s cute about his penpal, I didn’t know kids still did that…

  8. Sewing isn’t always so safe, is it? Once I sewed my index finger (like you, rushing, tired), and then there are iron burns, dropped scissors. It seems like such uneventful work, but it’s not. I am so excited for the Hummingbird to arrive in the mail. I like the idea of a dress and I’ve been thinking that once I get the basic skirt made to my satisfaction (longer and looser than your denim skirt, which looks great on you), that I want to add a bodice, keep the pockets and have this great shift dress. We’ll see. In any event, Cabarita and Hummingbird – please come soon! And get well soon.

Is it kind, useful or interesting? Great!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s